Posts Tagged ‘Autumn Leaves’


It is, after all, Fall!

The brilliant display of October’s leafy madness has begun with the vibrant yellows and reds and browns taking center stage in what I sometimes refer to as the long goodbye. While I am not about to say a long goodbye, I am going to tell you a news breaking story; perhaps one that will take your mind, for a few moments, off of all the noise of breaking political news.

Those yellows and reds and browns are starting to fall in earnest. From the eyebrow window in our bedroom, where I am currently at rest, I can see the enormous leaves of the sycamore tree floating down. Sometimes, they startle me, resembling brown birds so close to the window. Actually, the don’t get all that close, which is best. A very large spider’s web hangs in a perfectly knit vintage pattern just underneath the brow of the window.

All I can do now is watch the leaves fall, so, I might as well watch them perched on high, for I will not be shuffling through leaves this year.

I have gotten ahead of myself, so, please let me begin again, which takes me to late this past Monday afternoon; a perfect time just between dusk and dinner for clearing away the mass of sycamore leaves that have been carpeting the deck.

With rake in hand and a feel-good mood at being outdoors and accomplishing a much-needed task, I raked away leaves, many of which are as large as a grown man’s hand. I moved still blooming pots around, gathering leaves that had settled in corners and nooks. Really, our deck in Autumn is like an English muffin with more nooks and crannies than one can imagine.

The leaves formed their own pile on top of the deck as I hauled a bushel basket full of plant matter to the compost pile, along with kitchen scraps and all things organic. The pile of leaves would be shoveled down the deck stairs and onto a tarp, then hauled back to top off the compost.

On my final ascent up the small flight of stairs, I slipped. It happened so quickly and without preamble that I stumbled backward . I knew, as soon as I hit the ground, just two steps below, that this was not going to end well. I let out an involuntary primal scream as I came down hard. My head hit the ground, but, I fortunately – very fortunately – landed on a pillow of leaves. Those leaves saved me from a head injury.

I felt for my phone to call Tom for help, instinctively knowing that my left foot was twisted and I would need help getting up. Tom, however, heard my scream from up in his office in the barn. Before I could tell Siri to call Tom, he was rushing toward me. He gentled me into a sitting position on the erstwhile steps and we attempted to take measure of the damage, pulling a sycamore leaf out of my hair!

I was shaking like a leaf!

Aside from a bruised elbow, all moving parts were flexible, but, my left ankle was already swelling and hurt like the Dickens. We iced it and nursed it through the night, then decided it would be wise to go to the Emergency Room in the morning.

As I sat on the gurney in the ER, ex-rays completed, waiting for Tom to return to my side and for a doctor to see me, I thought I might as well check my cell phone for messages. Good thing I did, for there was one that had me laughing out loud. There, on my little smart screen, was a message. This message in my inbox was from the very same hospital I was being treated at. It was an invitation – for me – encouraging me to participate in an upcoming marathon run!

A nurse, walking by, looked in. I guess my laugh was way-out loud and not common, of course, in the ER. Those of you who know me know I would be the last person running a marathon, and the humor of the message’s timing was . . . well, let’s just leave it right here.

I have a small break in my foot. I am in cast and using a walker. I am, gratefully, not in pain. Well, at least not in foot pain. My legs, my arms, my neck, my hands are holding me up in ways foreign to me and using a walker is a bit of challenge. I am hopeful for a walking cast soon and so very thankful that this is my only injury. I will be fine and I hope you are all well and active and enjoying the emergence of fall or spring, depending on where you live.

So, dear reader, this is the legend of my Autumn fall.




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Come said the wind to
the leaves one day,
Come o’re the meadows
and we will play.
Put on your dresses
scarlet and gold,
For summer is gone
and the days grow cold.  

 A children’s song of the 1880’s

The days are closing in now, here on the Cutoff. The air is crisp, the colors sharp. Leaves carpet the ground, stuff the eaves, and decorate the tops of cars as the trees bare their souls in anticipation for the winter to come.

We have days of heat and humidity still, but, more  and more days of refreshing, cooler temperatures. The night air carries brisk breezes as the crickets correspond in the moonlight and the frogs keep up their low, liquid stream of primal conversations.

The other day, late afternoon, as dinner warmed in the oven,  I spent an hour attending to potted plants that were spent of their summer splendor, sweeping leaves off the deck.The leaves, dear friend, filled a large trash can and end up in the compost pile. The deck looked neat and welcoming as we sat down to dinner inside. As we ate, we could hear the wind kick up. A pot was blown over, the trees scraped the air and anything else in their way. A few, caught in filaments of spider webs,  flitted like butterflies as the temperature fell a good 20 degrees in about as many minutes.

As to the deck, well, it looks like it did – before I cleaned it.

Lamps and overhead lights come on earlier as darkness creeps in sooner each day. It is a time for candles and hot cider, soups and corn bread. It is, after all, sweet Autumn.

I love the changes in colors and the mellowing of the landscape that evolves in this season. There is a heady fragrance that permeates the air.  Just yesterday, I kept telling my Tom that I was smelling maple syrup. I am wondering now if it isn’t the coverlet of sycamore leaves that are bunched up after their night of tossing and turning just outside of the back door. The leaves have a faint maple scent. Oh, dear; I now have a craving for waffles, made in my mother’s waffle maker; an even more aged antique than me.

Such it is with Autumn and me; we seem to have a relationship that conjures up memories and heightens senses as it kisses me with all her splendor.

Do you enjoy Autumn? Do you have a favorite season? For those of you where spring is coming, how are your days and nights?

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There is a nip in the air, here on the Cutoff; not yet a first frost, but an unmistakable chill that calls out for hearty soups and warm shawls, a DSCN3329good book and cups of steaming tea. Bittersweet has appeared at floral shops, and rows upon rows of pumpkins line every supermarket entrance as we entertain thoughts of  Jack-o-Lanterns and pumpkin pie.

Daily, now, I take a stroll to the back of our property. I look to the left in dismay at the increasingly greater amount of trees that have been felled, the mountain of sawdust and the towers of logs.  I plot, in my mind, how to make this all work to our advantage, all-the- while walking,  shuffling, in the fallen leaves. It is the soft, slightly muffled sound and the crunch that brings me comfort in the flowing of seasons, one unto another, that I love so much about living here in middle America.

To the right, there are a few puffballs and I make mental notes to check them daily to monitor their growth, remembering the king of puffballs that we gently lifted and took to a nature center last year.

Ground zero brings fairy rings, dancing in the autumnal sunlight, sheltering fairies, I’m certain. Who else so expertly takes the caps off of acorns that are scattered about?

Whatever annuals remain now in pots are ravaged. The deer in the night, bold enough to come straight up to the house for midnight snack. Coleus salad, potato vine pie, and a nip of moon vine for the road; a regular frat party on the campus of the University of the Cutoff.

Much of the weekend was spent cutting back peonies, raking out withered ferns, and pulling the weeds that were hidden under so much growth. It is good to see the soil again, find the gazing ball that was hidden from view, and to watch the birds in a mad frenzy glean the seeds and insects that suddenly appear. It is a good time of year to take stock of what is, and to dream of what can be.


It is also time to clear out our plot in the community garden. I harvested a good hat full of tomatoes last week, and Tom and I gathered more this weekend. Soon, very soon, the plants will be pulled and composted, the fencing will come down, and we will sigh a good sigh at the fruits we reaped from our efforts as well as the sense of community that prevailed.

Now, where is that shawl – oh, there, draped on Aunt Ethel’s old cane rocking chair, just waiting for me and a book.

Pine cone:leaves:stones

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The Cutoff is blanketed in a quilt of golden snow as the leaves continue to fall, their softened sounds a magical mystery. It has been a most beautiful Autumn here. I knew it wouldn’t, couldn’t , last, yet, like all good things, I kept hoping for just a bit longer. I wandered about in the leaf strewn grass, soaking up  the colors, the mustiness and the crisp air, recalling the summer afternoons sitting under the arbor, sipping tea and reading.

My eyes were drawn to a flicker of gold in the distance. A ray of sunshine was playing tag with something. I needed to walk back to see what it was. Can you see it just beyond the bluebird house? Click on the picture for a better view.

My footfall was noisy as I dragged my feet. One must drag and crunch and shuffle through leaves to fully appreciate them, don’t you agree?  I marveled at how our landscape had changed overnight, exposing things hidden during the lush days of summer. Ancient farm implements, long forgotten by previous owners, emerged from their hiding spots,

and I caught a slight movement from within the brush. Can you see her? Our eyes met and held for a spell, then I walked on as she bent her head down, gnawing at whatever was tasty upon the forest floor.

The rest of the foraging expedition were eyeing me from the other side, waiting for me to move on . . .

. . . and so, I did, looking for that hint of gold I saw from the arbor. I found it. It was a single leaf, stopped in its descent by the tip of a small twig which had skewered it like a toothpick in search of an appetizer.

The sun illuminated its translucent beauty and I stood in awe at nature’s perfection.

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Oh, these bright Autumn days!

I find myself looking to Robert Frost’s Birches, perusing old Victoria magazines, and watching You’ve Got Mail. Joe Fox’s email to Kathleen Kelly about Autumn in New York, where he writes that  “I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address”, always makes me want to sharpen a dozen number 2 pencils to perfect points and place them in a vase with a bowl of candy corn nearby.

These crisp Autumn nights, how sweet they are, spending cozy hours rustling through old, battered cookbooks, looking for hearty soups to simmer and muffins to bake.

It is that crunchy time of year along the Cutoff. Time for taffy apples and raking leaves, with the primal chorus of Canadian geese casting passing shadows on the earth below as their lofty caravans migrate south.

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Have I told you I love Autumn?

Though awakening in darkness is still taking some getting-used-to and the early end of sunlight at day’s end quickens my steps, I still love Autumn.

The crunch of leaves. The surprise of rosehips on the vine.  The sweet smell of apples.The luster of candles glowing through a window warms my soul and  has me leafing through Frost and Thoreau these last days of Autumn.

The fallen leaves still languish in assorted hues and textures on the lawn and in the flower beds, where perennials are spent and pleading for mercy – a hard task to toil when annuals are still blooming and a killing frost is yet to arrive.

It has been a strange fall, much like our past spring and summer. By now, there are usually hedgerows of leaves up and down our road; a sight to behold, I can assure you. Instead, we’ve still some green left on the trees and the magic of asters and mums still give us pleasure. We will surely be out in winter coats and stocking caps raking frosty leaves if we don’t get to them soon.

For now, however, I think I’ll light a candle and open the Stillwater Sampler by Gladys Taber. This latest addition to my Taber collection unexpectedly jumped into my hands the other day while browsing in my favorite little book booth at Jackson Square Mall. Yes, I’ll languish a bit more, like the leaves on the lawn, over the last of Autumn.

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“Autumn Leaves”

The lawn is a carpet of leaves, waiting to be raked and mulched or dragged to a pile along the road. The air crisp and clear and breathing the breath of Old Man Winter. It is, after all, mid-November, and for all my grumbling and fretting that it is too warm or too windy or too dry, it has been a long and enjoyable autumn here on the Cutoff.

We will be busy the next week, raking and mowing, hauling pile after pile of leaves on a tarp. Whether they go to the road or one of several compost piles, they will need to be lugged in some order and fashion. There will be some piles to break down to add to the soil in spring and a pile for deer, and another pile for the city to pick up. We really have that many leaves.

The sycamores are the last to fall; huge leaves the size of dinner plates with a tough composition allowing them to decompose slower than most of the other leaves. If we leave them on the ground, they will still be the same shape come spring.

Not a good thing . . .

. . . and still, leaves cling to trees and bushes, especially the snowball bush, which sits outside my window here.

The leaves are falling and falling and falling,  still. The barren trees, naked in the wind, showing every burl and bump and exposing every nest, remind us of the coming winter and the slow descent into the darker days ahead.

The beauty of it all, and the sadness as well, reminded me of the wistful song, “Autumn Leaves”, which was recorded by so many vocalists over the years. I thought you might like this Doris Day rendition.


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